Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome & How You Can Prevent It

Naturopathic Medicine, holistic, homeopathic, natural treatments, Edina, Woodbury, MN, Minneapolis

Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are three of the leading causes of death in the U.S. When death results from these situations it often feels like the incident occurred out of nowhere, which can leave family members wondering what could have been done to save their loved ones.

Although death from heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are almost always unexpected, there are often a group of risk factors that show up as warning signs far before the sometimes fatal events occur. Some of these risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol, and excess body fat especially around the waistline. Together, these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome. Having a combination of these conditions increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is usually the result of several causes including overweight, obesity, inactivity and a poor diet which ultimately leads to inflammation throughout the body.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body has become insulin resistant, another culprit of metabolic syndrome. When you eat carbohydrates, the body turns the carbs into sugar or glucose after the food has been digested. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use this glucose as energy or to store the glucose for future use. When your body becomes insulin resistant your cells cannot efficiently use blood sugar or glucose for energy. Whenever insulin is elevated it send the body into a “fat storage mode” which makes weight loss very difficult. When this happens you continuously have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes if a dietary change is not made.

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Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome 

As stated earlier, metabolic syndrome is the result of a number of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Often these conditions have very few signs or symptoms. Some individuals with high blood pressure may face headaches and dizzy spells, while those with high blood sugar can experience increased thirst, urination and headaches. On the other hand, some individuals show no signs or symptoms at all.

A visible sign that someone may be suffering from metabolic syndrome is a large waistline. Having extra fat in the belly area, as opposed to other areas of the body, has been linked to an increase risk of metabolic syndrome. For those of us with a more visual mind, if your body shape looks more like an apple instead of a pear, this could be a visual cue that you are suffering a health condition.

Get Tested

Because of the often few and sometimes non-existent symptoms of metabolic syndrome, it can be very hard to determine whether you are suffering from the condition. The best thing you can do if you suspect that you may have metabolic syndrome is to consult a physician.

If you have been looking to find a naturopathic doctor or if you are interested in exploring naturopathic remedies for health, Balanced Care is the right place for you. At Balanced Care we can complete a physical exam and run a number of tests to confirm whether you are suffering from metabolic syndrome. These tests will measure your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Genetic testing can also be used to evaluate your cardiac risk. 

Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

If you are in fact diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the good news is that natural treatments and lifestyle changes can reverse your condition. These natural remedies include changes in nutrition and becoming more active which leads to weight loss and decreased inflammation.

Changing your diet will do wonders for you if you suffer from metabolic syndrome. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals can help your metabolism operate properly. Because everyone is different, the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care can help you create a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to you.

Exercise and being active is a great way to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and prevent insulin resistance. Everything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to attending a yoga class will help – nothing is off limits. As long as you are consistently moving, this increased activity will help tackle your metabolic syndrome conditions.

As a result of improving your diet and becoming more active, you will see the pounds fall off. The apple shape you once had will soon turn into a pear if you keep up with your lifestyle changes.

Don’t Be a Statistic

Most of us know someone whose life ended tragically or whose life was changed forever as a result of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. Many of these lives could have been saved if the correct natural treatments for high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure were implemented sooner.

Metabolic syndrome is a very clear sign that you need to make some lifestyle changes. Although they are leading causes of death, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes are preventable, especially when treated by addressing the underlying cause. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting tested and regaining control of your health.

 

 Dr. Katie and Dr. Rachel are registered Naturopathic Doctors in Edina and Woodbury, MN. Serving the Twin Cities, Dr. Katie and Dr. Rachel are passionate about addressing the root cause by using natural medicines and nutrition. They provide holistic medical care and individualized treatment plans for each and every patient. Call now to schedule your complimentary 15 minute consultation at 612-564-2218. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

Treating Adult Acne Naturally

Close Up Of Beauty Woman Face And Hand Touch

Written by: Dr. Rachel Alioto

A shocking 45% of people over the age of 21 have acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, most being women. There are many causes for adult acne including lifestyle, diet, stress, family history, side effects of medications and hormone imbalance, but how can you treat acne naturally?

First, lets look at a few common causes for adult acne.

Stress: We all have stress in our lives, some more than others, but how do we cope with the stress? When under chronic stress there is an increase in androgens like cortisol and testosterone. Research shows that cortisol and testosterone increases acne and breakouts. Incorporating stress-relieving strategies into our daily life can help maintain normal androgen levels which is important for sleep, skin, mood, and so much more.

Exercise: Your metabolism increases during and after a workout which helps rid the body of excess sebum production that causes acne. On the other hand, hormones can become stagnant with a lack of exercise which leads to hormonal acne. Maintaining an exercise routine at least 3 days per week can help prevent adult acne. Your pores open during a workout so be sure to rinse off as soon as possible to prevent them from filling with sweat and bacteria and causing a breakout!

Diet: Conventional chickens and beef are given hormones that large-scale companies use to increase size and output of animals. These same animals are also given antibiotics to prevent infections that spread rapidly in small living spaces. The hormones and antibiotics end up in the meat and milk we consume if we are not careful. If your acne is hormonal in nature, it may be caused by the animal products you are eating or drinking. To prevent this, purchase your meat locally from farmers who do not use hormones and let their animals graze. Look for grass-fed beef and free range chickens that are hormone and antibiotic free. As for dairy, choose organic and/or switch to a plant-based milk like almond or coconut milk.

Additionally, be wary of the types of oil you use. Peanut and vegetable oils are highly processed and could be contributing to your breakouts. Cook with olive oil or avocado oil instead, or even sauté in water or broth instead!

If meat or dairy is not be the cause of your acne, gluten, nuts or other food sensitivities may be the culprit. Whatever we put into our body will affect the outside of our body too.

Here are a few suggestions for naturally avoiding acne and breakouts:

  1. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, fish and humanely raised lean meats. Choose organic when possible and try out plant-based milks.
  2. Exercise! Yoga, walking, swimming all help boost your metabolism while allowing you to de-stress your body and mind. Find something you enjoy and then do it at least 3 days per week.
  3. Be sure to have a good cleansing regimen both mornings and evenings. If hormones are causing your acne, balancing hormone levels naturally is crucial.
  4. If you aren’t sure what is causing your acne, book an appointment with Dr. Rachel or Dr. Katie. We can help determine what foods or hormones may be causing your acne.

 

Dr. Rachel and Dr. Katie are Naturopathic Doctors in Edina and Woodbury, MN. We offer natural treatments to your health issues. Call us today for your complimentary 15 minute consultation 612-564-2218. We hope to hear from you soon!

holistic, skin care, vitamin D, depression, MN, naturopathic doctor, edina, woodburyThe official start of summer in Minnesota is only a couple of weeks away, so it is probably safe to say that the sun is finally here to stay – for the next few months at least.  With that said, we should all be thinking about and protecting our bodies’ largest organ – our skin. Most of us will be spending many hours outdoors this summer, which means we will probably be using plenty of sunscreen. With hundreds of brands on the market, how can we determine which one is best?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, sunscreen should actually be used as a last resort. Things like dressing properly and spending time outdoors in the early mornings or late evenings when the sun is not at its peak are more natural ways to avoid sunburn. Most sunscreens contain an abundance of chemicals. The effects of many of these chemicals on human health have not been studied well enough to deem them truly safe for use.

The EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Each year, the EWG publishes a sunscreen guide. The guide offers the general public information on specific sunscreen brands. The guide also provides the EWG’s picks for best and worst brands. The brands are chosen after extensive study of their ingredients, consideration of potential health hazards, and how well they actually work.

According to this year’s Guide to Sunscreens, one chemical that we should all avoid when purchasing sunscreen is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a common active ingredient that was found in over half of the sunscreens that the EWG studied this year. Oxybenzone is known to cause allergic skin reactions. It has also been linked to hormone disruptions such as altering sperm production in men. Additionally, it has been associated with endometriosis in women. Given these findings, when considering your sunscreen purchases you should avoid those that contain oxybenzone.

On top of the endless list of chemicals in most sunscreens, some individuals must be even more cautious because of their higher risk of getting sunburn. These include women on birth control, babies and toddlers and individuals with fair skin. These individuals should be especially careful with their sun exposure and would probably benefit the most from using natural holistic remedies for sunburn and sun protection, such as monitoring the amount of time spent in the sun and finding and using shade often.

Because sunscreen is applied liberally onto the skin and is often reapplied, it is a good idea to educate ourselves on what we are actually putting onto our skin.  In addition, not only can toxins and chemicals from sunscreen be absorbed through the skin, but they can also be absorbed through other means such as inhalation.

The Sunshine Vitamin

Despite the fear of the sun that has been instilled upon most of us, the sun is not all bad. It is the source of almost all of the earth’s energy and can provide humans with the vitamin D we require.  Spending a short amount of time in the sun each day can give our bodies the vitamin D we need. This is why vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin. This is also one of the reasons why it feels so good to step outside after many hours indoors. The sun’s rays are a providing us with an essential vitamin.

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Sources of Vitamin D

Unfortunately when sunscreen is applied it prohibits the skin from absorbing the sun’s rays and producing vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital to regulating and absorbing certain minerals such as calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones in children and bone loss in adults. On top of the physical detriments, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression here and here.

According to a 2009 study, about three-quarters of teens and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. At the same time, the use of sunscreen has increased dramatically. Because there are so many factors associated with obtaining vitamin D from the sun it is often hard to measure whether you are receiving enough of this essential vitamin this way.

What Can You Do?

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms range and many are vague. Common symptoms include tiredness, aches, pains, and pain and weakness in the bones, often leading to the inability to move around as desired. Some people may not have symptoms at all.

If your skin isn’t getting daily exposure to the sun without sunscreen, vitamin D supplements can be taken. If you are not receiving your vitamin D in either of these forms, or if you suspect that you may be vitamin D deficient, it is a good idea to get tested. As naturopathic doctors in MN, Balanced Care offers testing for vitamin D deficiency. If you do not fall in the optimal range we will use natural treatments to increase your vitamin D up to its appropriate level.

Did you miss a spot? Aloe to the rescue!! Apply aloe vera right away and continue applying for a few days. Skip the green goo and go for the organic stuff 😉

Naturopathic DoctorWe offer naturopathic medical services in Minnesota. Located in Edina and Woodbury. Dr. Katie and Dr. Rachel specialize in addressing the root cause using natural medicines and nutrition. For a complimentary 15 minute consultation you can schedule online here.